The Sinning Lessons
Alison Phelps

We learn from our mistakes. Consider a mathematics examination – we learn the techniques and apply them. The answer is either right or wrong, and an analysis of incorrect answers will identify the point of error. A final examination is used to determine how much we learnt and the result is a pass or fail.

The sinning lessons sound as if they should be similar in our lives, but there are three major differences. An unintentional error is very different from a deliberate choice to sin. Sins are the commission of evil, and the final pass or fail, ie the judgement of the accumulation of the sins, equates to life or death of the soul.

“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life ”   (Romans 6:23)

The cycle of lives have given each of us many opportunities to grow, but this also includes the choice to sin or not to sin. As children we start to learn the difference between right and wrong. Whether this is by loving parents applying strict firm disciplines or by punishments and harsh words, the child soon realizes that wrongs are accompanied by penalties. These are the sinning lessons!

As a young child in school, I found a new, decorative pencil eraser on the floor. I picked it up, but chose to hide it in my pocket rather than return it to its owner. Not long afterwards, I stubbed my toe badly. I recall thinking that I was being “paid back” for stealing. While the two incidents were totally unrelated, a valuable sinning lesson WAS still learnt. There are penalties for sins! The second lesson learnt in this same incident was that “someone” was keeping tally on me. “Somebody” knows what I did. While the understanding was childlike and simple, it DID reflect a basic truth – our accumulated soul experiences will reflect ALL these good and poor choices.

A parent will set the boundaries and the penalties for transgressions, and in a similar manner, the laws of a country dictate what actions are permissible and those that are not. The Ten Commandments formalize these laws for many countries and the judicial system is in place to enforce them. Many are tried and sentenced in court, and spend a term in prison where an attempt is made to rehabilitate the individual. Do they learn the sinning lessons? If one realizes that the punishment is a result of their own poor choices and sincerely turns from these ways – then yes, the sinning lesson has been learnt. If on the other hand, they spend their term plotting retaliation and ways to prevent discovery for further crimes - then no, the effort has been wasted for this individual.

The key to understanding the sinning lesson comes when the individual acknowledges their poor behavior and chooses to walk the straight path. No system of law can force one along this route, it must be a sincere desire from the heart for change. The major religions all set good moral guidelines and examples that encourage individuals away from sins, but at the end of the day, learning the sinning lessons can only be accomplished by choices made by individuals.

Blaming others for our poor choices, lies and attempts to hide or deny poor actions are all signs of a sinner who is not learning. These poor experiences are accumulating within the soul, and ultimately the individual will fail the final examination! Perhaps the most important lesson is the realization that the accumulated burden of all of these sins CAN be removed. The person that acknowledges his wrong doings, and truly repents and asks forgiveness from Father with an honest and true heart, will have the chance to start afresh. He will have learnt the most important sinning lesson.

While there is life, no one is beyond hope. There is still the opportunity to learn.